Master_gardener_medium_medium Minnesota Yard & Garden

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteers are on-hand to answer Minnesotan's questions about home flower gardens, vegetable and fruit gardens, landscape design and maintenance, seed starting, garden soil, composting, and pest management.

(This group currently has 12 experts available to answer questions)

Questions asked to this group

Flower Soil Preparation

I have noticed that the leaves from plants that I have planted in previous years are pale yellow-green color instead of the deep green that this years flowers have. What type of soil preparation should I do to get my flower garden ready for next year?

Dakota County Minnesota Posted 34 minutes ago

Japanese Knotweed

I am trying to eradicate the Japanese Knotweed from my yard in South Minnespolis. It’s very established; it was in my yard when I bought my house 30 years ago and someone FINALLY was able to identify it about a year ago. I’ve been cutting the cane about 1” from the ground and immediately dabbing it with Stump and Tree Killer; I put food coloring in it so I can see that the cut part been treated. I’ve been putting the waste in plastic bags and then into the garbage that’s heading to the incinerator. I was told by the city solid waste department that it has to go in with yard waste. I’m willing to do that, and had been before finding out what it is. Will that compost get hot enough to prevent it from spreading?

Hennepin County Minnesota Posted 44 minutes ago

Wood chip risks

Hi, I can get free wood chips from the crews trimming trees and brush along the power lines near us. Do these chips pose a disease or insect pest risk to our trees? Thanks!

Washington County Minnesota Posted about 3 hours ago

Great northern beans harvest

Hello, We grew some Great Northern Beans this year but when shelling them we've noticed that a lot of them have a small grey spot(s) on them. Obviously these are not ones you would sell or save for planting next year, but are they safe to eat? I have not been able to find any information on the whether or not they are still edible for home use. They are still hard, and when we cut one open the discoloration does go a bit inside. Thank you for any clarification, Katie

Ramsey County Minnesota beans horticulture Posted about 4 hours ago

Fertilizing grass again this fall

Fertilizered the day after Labor Day. but, with all this rain, should we apply another round? Maybe lighter? Thanks, Nancy Alfton

Hennepin County Minnesota Posted about 4 hours ago

Can I get rid of these bugs?

We live in new construction and have had these bugs come up from our drains - all bathrooms and kitchen. They are only seen near water but will fly away from water sometimes. I assume they come from the drain since that is where I see them habitat. Multiple appear daily in each location (1-4 bugs in each place). They don't move much but will fly like gnats or fruit flies. I first used sticky boxes with bait and it caught a few here and there. I have poured hot water and bleach down each drain and toilet but they came right back after initially decreasing in number for a day. I've attached a photo of one by my tub drain next to my female thumb. They are super tiny. What is it and please help me get rid of them! It has been 3-4 months of dealing with them (June-Sept).

Scott County Minnesota Posted about 5 hours ago

Honey Crisp

We should be getting a frost next week, should I wait to pick my apples?

Itasca County Minnesota honeycrisp apple Posted about 20 hours ago

Black Spruce dyeing

We planted 3 8' Black Spruce at our cabin just north of Mil Lacs on Bay Lake in October 2015. They began to show stress [ needle loss] the next Spring. One was replaced by the landscaper at that time and we questioned him about the other two which also had some needle loss but he reassured us that they were fine. The remaining 2 continued to lose needles to this day. { see pictures] The landscaper came out at our request and said they probably had a fungus but were now out of warranty and would not be replaced even though the others showed signs of the disease when the first one was replaced ! In reading your website I noted that Black Hills Spruce should not be planted in a row next to each other or in shade as these were. With fencing we have over $ 3000 invested in this planting. I would like your opinion as to the cause of this tree loss. [ The last picture with the stake is the one that was replanted under warranty. Will this one survive ?] Lastly, do you think we have a case with the landscaper for replacement or remuneration for our loss ? Thank you for your consideration and opinion . William Rickman

Crow Wing County Minnesota Posted about 20 hours ago

are some of these milkweed plants dead?

Hello, I am the guy that had a question about what was attacking my Monarch chrysalises. You were right, the U of MN Monarch group was able to help me. Problem was small parasitoid wasps. Thank you. Along the same butterfly gardening issue: Background: I dug up and transplanted about 80 milkweed plants this past May and moved them into my back yard. They grew well and I lost only a couple. Spring transplanting was needed since I had no luck with seeds that I purchased and planted last fall. As a side note, it sounds like the best way to get milkweed is from seed so I am going to add more plants this fall by taking seeds from milkweed pods and use fresh/viable seeds this time. I will plant the seeds right before the ground freezes. If you have any thoughts about how to best grow milkweed from seed please let me know. Here is the question: I was out of town last week and my butterfly garden now looks like the pictures in the attached photos. There was no rain for the week and no watering done either. Before I left, the leaves were starting to yellow and began to lose their leaves - perhaps shutting down for fall? Are these plants dead? Some look black and lifeless while others look dormant and more typical of what I would think a 'shutdown' milkweed plant would look like. Please let me know if you think the plants have a chance of sprouting next spring. If they are dead, I will remove the dead plants and plant more seeds in their place. I just don't want to transplant again next year as that was a big chore. I also don't want to crowd the existing plants with more seeds either if there is a good chance these will regrow despite looking so dead. I promise not to hit you routinely with too many questions and the one from earlier this week and this one are the only issues I foresee asking you for quite some time. I really appreciate your expertise regarding what's' up with these milkweed plants in my butterfly garden.

Anoka County Minnesota milkweed horticulture Posted about 22 hours ago

grape care

We will be pruning the grapevine come spring. Now (Oct) we want to remove the leaves so the we can see better;so that we can put in new posts and cables.Is it okay to remove the leaves and some shoots now?

Wright County Minnesota Posted about 24 hours ago